Floating but like an illusion echoing the way frost coats the green to blue at dawn, they sit and tread as the numbered days count backwards until they go forward south. Every early dusk, getting earlier by the day, has something new and a fraction more urgent to say. They honk, for lack of a pretty word, back where they wish they had something prettier to share out on the water, and they do so loudly where their charming cousins play more pleasing notes on their syrinx.
They don’t watch for the palette to change on the fingers of maples, or for the children to prep to dress up for candy, but they still know when to take flight. On their dark feathers and down they’ll head up and leave us behind with the lasting thought that the summer has firmly and truly died.